Zambia’s President Hichilema goes 8 months without salary
Zambia woke up on Monday to a social media frenzy over the knowledge of its president having gone the entire eight months since his election without pay.
The ministry responsible for paying presidential wages and allowances had claimed that Hakainde Hichilema has forgone wages “in his interest to serve the public”.
In response, Hichilema, who was elected president last August, said a salary was not his motivation for seeking public office.
“The issue of the salary is a non-issue because money was not our motivation for seeking public office and not that the government was not willing to pay,” he told reporters on arriving in the country’s southern city of Livingstone, where he is due to receive Rwandan President Paul Kagame on a state visit.
“It is just that I have not paid attention to that [presidential salary]”, he added. “My intention and motivation is to see how we can better the lives of the people.”
Hichilema, 59, an economist and businessman with local and international links, became president after a 15-year haul in the opposition, defeating then-incumbent Edgar Lungu by more than a million votes.
His election followed campaign promises to heal an ailing economy by rooting out corruption and creating jobs for the masses, especially youths.
But his wealth came up for scrutiny during the elections as political opponents claimed that he made his fortune from association with the controversial privatisation of state assets in the 1990s.